Studies have revealed the natural supplement 5-HTP, made from the seeds of an African plant called Griffonia Simplicifolia, could help ease many symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA).
What is 5-HPT
5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a natural body chemical produced from tryptophan, an amino acid found in foods such as bananas, turkey and milk. The 5-HTP in our bodies helps increase the production of the chemical serotonin, often referred to as the happy hormone.
Serotonin relays messages between the brain and central nervous system. This helps our body to regulate our appetite, stress levels and our sleeping pattern. This increase in serotonin levels that 5-HTP helps produce could relieve some of the following symptoms associated with OA:
The aches, pains and anxiety caused by OA can often prevent you from falling asleep. However, an increased amount of serotonin in your body can help raise your levels of melatonin, more commonly known as the sleep hormone. While serotonin helps relax the body, melatonin can help reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.
Painful joints can hinder OA sufferers’ ability to exercise which in turn could lead to weight gain. It’s a vicious cycle as excess weight can put extra strain on joints, causing them to deteriorate and become even painful. 5-HTP could help you control your diet and aid in weight loss.
Four placebo-controlled trials conducted by Italian researchers between 1989 and 1991 revealed participants taking 5-HTP supplements ate fewer calories than those on the placebo. Those participants taking the supplement also felt more satiated after eating, causing them to reduce their regular food intake and subsequently lose weight.
Chronic physical pain can have a detrimental effect on your mental health. Prescribed antidepressants help boost neurotransmitters in our brain, one of which is serotonin. An increase in serotonin levels can improve our mood, thus helping to lift depressive feelings. The role 5-HTP plays in helping to increase levels of serotonin in the brain means it could also help alleviate symptoms of depression such as anxiety and stress.
Painful joints can lead to an immobile lifestyle, yet it is important for OA sufferers to keep active and healthy. By helping to improve your mood and assist in weight loss, 5-HTP could increase your motivation levels making it easier, and more enjoyable, to maintain a regular exercise routine.
Aches and pains
Serotonin also plays a part in your body’s response to pain, although exactly what and how it does that is still being researched. However, it is suggested that serotonin could help relieve certain pains by causing blood vessel constriction and smooth muscle contraction.